Wildlife

screengrab / National Geographic Channel

Mud baths aren't just for spa-loving humans.

A National Geographic video captured both grizzlies and black bears submerging in what's referred to as a "bear bathtub" in Yellowstone National Park. The natural swimming hole serves as a place for the bears to cool off, take a drink and get squeaky clean.

Cameras placed around the hole recorded the action, giving insight into the iconic predators' behavior.

Glen Hush / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Raptor biologist Janie Veltkamp met Beauty in 2007. Beauty is a 14-year-old bald eagle, and back then the bird was struggling to survive. She had been illegally shot in the wild, and lost her upper beak from the trauma. Without her upper beak – which is vital to eating – she wasn’t expected to live very long.

Dan Stahler / Yellowstone National Park Flickr

Idaho Fish and Game collared four wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness earlier this month. The action was unauthorized by the Forest Service, the agency that oversees the area.

Mike Keckler with Fish and Game says the issue comes down to a communication problem. One of the crews assigned to put tracking collars on elk in the wilderness area also collared four wolves. Keckler says they do that under normal operations, but in this case the agency had a specific agreement with the Forest Service to only collar elk.

Courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game

File this in your Idaho oddities folder: a hunter killed a mountain lion with a second set of teeth and whiskers growing on top of its head last week. As the Idaho State Journal reports, the year-old animal has Idaho Fish and Game biologists scratching their heads. They have never seen anything like it.

But the scientists do have some theories about what could have caused this abnormal growth.

Bob Dodson

Earlier this year, we told you the story of Idaho Fish and Game parachuting beavers into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness in the late 1940’s. Back then, the idea was to trap problem beavers, put them in special boxes and parachute them from a plane. They were sent to remote areas where they could find a new home.

Idaho Fish and Game

Earlier this year, we brought you the story of beavers parachuting into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The story spread like wildfire, complete with pictures of the beavers, tucked inside their travel boxes, parachuting into their new homes.

It turns out there’s more to this story.

Daniel Gonzalez

Boise residents know there are a lot of birds that live or pass through the city. Now the city's Parks and Recreation department has published a field guide that highlights species commonly found around town.

screen grab fws.gov / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday released a new recovery plan for the bull trout. The agency listed it as a threatened species in the late 1990s. Bull trout live in Idaho and four other western states. The new plan divides the fish’s territory into six sections. Mike Carrier, head of Fish and Wildlife’s Idaho office says in some sections, like in Oregon and Washington, bull trout are struggling.

Terry R. Thomas / naturetrack.com

When more than 2,000 migrating snow geese were found dead at eastern Idaho’s Mud Lake in March, headlines all over the country said the birds had fallen dead from the sky. Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game says that did not actually happen, but the agency has revised its explanation of what did occur.

When the birds were found, fish and game biologists saw clear signs of avian cholera. And the department initially ascribed the whole die-off to cholera.

Prairie Dog, wildlife
Matthew Paulson / Flickr Creative Commons

Government attorneys are defending federal protections for Utah prairie dogs after 10 states stepped into the case in favor of a ruling that animal activists say could undermine the Endangered Species Act.

Federal lawyers are asking an appeals court to overturn an unusual ruling striking down prairie dog protections near the Utah town of Cedar City.

Residents say the animals are taking over their town, though animal activists countered Thursday that those concerns are overblown.

Grizzly, wildlife, grizzlies, endangered species list
Jason Bechtel / Flickr Creative Commons

Twenty-four grizzly bears have been captured so far this year in and around Yellowstone National Park as wildlife managers start another season of research toward a potential lifting of federal protections.

The Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team captured the grizzlies in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks and outside the parks in Montana and Wyoming.

Teams are now starting to trap grizzlies in eastern Idaho.

The estimated grizzly population in the 19,000-square-mile Yellowstone ecosystem is 757 bears.

NOAA Fisheries West Coast / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal officials are releasing a plan to recover struggling bull trout populations in five Western states with the goal of lifting Endangered Species Act protections.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the draft plan for six recovery units spread over Idaho, western Montana, Washington, Oregon and a tiny portion of northern Nevada will be released Thursday.

Bull trout require pristine conditions and were listed as threatened in the Lower 48 states in 1999.

James M. / Flickr Creative Commons

Nine states are stepping into a lawsuit over the Utah prairie dog in favor of a ruling that animal activists say threatens to undermine the Endangered Species Act.

The attorneys general asked an appeals court on Thursday to uphold a ruling striking down federal protections for the Utah prairie dog on private property. They argue states should manage animals that live only within their borders.

Idaho Black Bear Rehab/Idaho Statesman

 The black bear cub injured in a Washington wildfire last year is about to go home.

The Idaho Statesman reports the 2-year-old female black bear named Cinder will be released into the wild in June.

She was found under a horse trailer in Methow Valley following a wildfire in summer 2014. Cinder's paws were so severely burned that she wasn't even walking on them. Instead, she was pulling herself along by her elbows.

Sally Jewell, sage grouse
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell met with Idaho state officials, fire managers and ranchers Tuesday about a new strategy to protect greater sage grouse habitat from wildfire. The 82-page plan is part of a larger effort among 11 western states trying to keep the threatened bird off the Endangered Species List. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether to list the bird in September.

Aaron Maizlish / Flickr

Federal officials have announced more than $4 million in projects in four states as part of a wildfire-fighting strategy to protect a wide swath of intermountain West sagebrush country that supports cattle ranching and is home to a struggling bird species.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management will use the money in Idaho, Utah, Nevada and Oregon to counter wildfire threats, invasive grasses and juniper trees encroaching in sagebrush habitat.

Dan Dzurisin / Flickr Creative Commons

Between 2007-2013, the greater sage grouse population declined by 56 percent across 11 states. That's according to a study paid for by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which looked at the sage brush habitat as a whole.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The largest wolf pack known to exist in the West roams in northwest Wyoming.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports 24 wolves in the Lava Mountain Pack.

That is nine more than any other pack surveyed this year in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington or Oregon.

The Lava Mountain Pack roams a hill country about 30 miles northeast of Jackson.

Fish and Wildlife Service wolf coordinator Mike Jimenez tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that the pack had two litters of pups in 2014.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

State biologists are telling the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission there is enough information to consider taking the gray wolf off the state endangered species list.

A draft status review was posted Tuesday on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife website with materials for the commission's next meeting.

A final decision is not scheduled until August, but the commission is to make the first step in the process — deciding whether it has enough information to consider the issue - when it meets April 24 in Bend.

Tony Morris / Flickr Creative Commons

Government scientists say a warming climate could significantly reduce the amount of greater sage grouse habitat in portions of Wyoming, a key stronghold for the troubled bird species.

The chicken-sized grouse already has seen dramatic declines in recent decades due to disease, oil drilling, grazing and other factors.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists said a warming climate could become an even greater risk, reducing nesting habitat by 12 percent by 2050.

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